|Our precious children|
But something I enjoyed much more than the game (I am a people person after all) was seeing a brief interview of Case Keenum the guy who threw the football. They were asking him what he thought about this moment and I loved his response. I couldn't find the exact quote but basically he said that this winning moment was 3rd on his list of great moments. 1st was when he gave his life to Jesus Christ and 2nd was they day he married his wife. It brought tears to my eyes that in an emotional career high like he was experiencing he was still able to remember what his right priorities were.
Priorities can be challenging and it is something I have been thinking about lately. We are getting ready to host a Retreat at church at the end of February and the topic this year is centered around the family. As I have been thinking about that to prepare my mind and also helping to get decorations made and various other things ready for the Winter Retreat I have thought about the various priorities that many people have concerning God and their family.
I think there are some wrong concepts out there concerning raising a family and serving God in a big way. It seems like some people think that they are called to ministry (whether it be going to the mission field or working here at home) and so even if they have to "sacrifice" their family in the process that is what they need to do. And I don't think they truly feel like they are sacrificing their family but I know that some kids that have been left in boarding school while their parents go to the mission field often feel quite a little sacrificed. Or let's bring it a little closer to home in these modern times - A wife who is left home so very often while her preacher husband goes off to preach at yet another camp or rally or is just gone nearly every evening leading this or that Bible study or counseling somebody. She can feel rather sacrificed. Especially when all that time apart from your spouse and with others leads to adultery -which I have known of happening far more than I care to think about. When any parent is involved in "ministry" so often that it causes the children to be shoved aside I think those children often feel and end up being rather sacrificed.
I am not the only one who has seen these issues - others have too and I am noticing that sometimes there is a big pendulum swing. They don't want to happen to their family what I mentioned about so they vow to care for their family and make that their top priority. Sometimes they start leading a rather reclusive lifestyle and simply focus on their home with no outward focus at all. The problem is - family shouldn't be their top priority, God should. Don't get me wrong, family ranks super high on the list but our life isn't about our family (at least not for Christians) it is about God and seeking and doing His Will. When we read scripture we can clearly see that taking care of our family (1 Timothy 5:8), Loving our spouses and carefully training (Proverbs 22:6) and caring for our children is God's will. So we can follow God with all our heart and give our lives to His service (doing whatever He should see fit) realizing that in whatever we are doing if we have a family it is God's will that we love and care for them too.
God does not ask us to do two different things that don't work together. In the Bible (which has in it God's revealed will for us) we find that it is God's will that we share the gospel with others (Mark 16:15 & 16, 1 Peter 3:15-16, 2 Timothy 1:7-8, etc) and we also know that we need to love and care for our family. Those have to be able to work together. We don't just choose one or the other (unless we do choose to stay single for the purpose of being able to devote our time to God without any distractions which is perfectly okay though not what God has planned for most people) - they can go hand in hand.
The Bible clearly gives directions to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:22-33 and many other places as well. The husband is to love his wife like Christ loves the church and the wife is to submit to and respect her husband. I don't think that if a couple is following this scripture (and others like it) that either spouse is going to feel sacrificed or neglected. 1 Peter 3 also is a great chapter that addresses marriage relationships. Ephesians 6 has some good verses about raising children. The book of Proverbs is also full of advice concerning raising children. Raising children to love Jesus Christ takes time it isn't done in just a few minutes or even a day here and there.
I hope I haven't just rambled on and on and not made sense. This is something I feel passionately about - that we as Christians were put here for a purpose and that is to seek His will and to do it and to glorify Him in everything. He has given us the job of sharing that Good News with others. If we are blessed to have a spouse and children it is also His will for us to love and care for them and train up our children. I fully believe that these two activities can both be done.
I believe that working together with our spouse we can in fact accomplish more for the sake of the gospel. I believe that working with our children (even when they are little) we can find opportunities to share the gospel. Our families can be an asset - not a hindrance. When we can serve God together it causes all of us to grow and is a bigger light to shine to share the Good News.
Here are just a few ideas of things we have done or I have seen others do to spread the gospel along with your family.....
- Invite others into your home, it could be just for a meal where you visit and encourage, it could be a Bible study or a time of prayer. We have also been blessed to have people come to our place to use our area of the river for baptisms.
- Write. Letters, e-mails, blog posts, etc. These can be done with children around and sometimes they can even join in. These are opportunities to share the gospel and to encourage.
- Help at a Bible camp. I have seen many families that go together to help out at camp.
- Help at an church event. It is much easier to do things with my children's help than alone.
- Serve at a homeless shelter. The whole family can help.
- Sing together and for others.
- Serve others together - you never know what opportunities you may have to share the gospel with those you are serving.
- Spouses working together to do counseling.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!